Well intentioned paranoid people seem intent on driving the fun out of all leisure pursuits, except staying indoors to watch TV and play Playstation games. They’re also intent on imposing additional liabilities, compliance costs and worries onto any person or organisation that organises recreational activities for kids. Those costs are transferred to caregivers, who may think that a Playstation or broadband Internet is a cheaper, easier, low risk way of keeping the kids amused.
Apparently this latest outrage is about kids increasingly using scooters and getting hurt. How dare they! The missing statistic amongst accounts of Rivers of Blood is head injuries and the extent of damage caused by those. Also missing is any analysis of how helmet wearing may mitigate head injuries.
Current cycle helmet laws are flawed and I suspect that plastic buckets for the heads of scooter users will be equally silly. The laws, such as they are, are based on the premise that wearing a stylie piece of Styrofoam atop of one’s head can only be useful. I believe that the laws are flawed because they take no interest at all in whether the plastic hat complies with any reasonable standards or whether it is being worn properly. Police have better things to do with their time.
I see a lot of cyclists of all ages out and about most days. While all may be wearing a helmet, many are not tied on (straps flapping in the breeze); are too big (perhaps belonging to a parent or older sibling); are perched jauntily, perhaps on the back of the head; worn over a baseball cap; and so on. Compliance? Pass. Effectiveness? Fail.
I believe it would be possible to ride around town unchallenged whilst wearing a plastic colander held on with a piece of string. I may try this one day and see what happens.
The joy of riding a device like a scooter or skateboard, even a bicycle, comes from freedom and convenience. Complicate that by giving the users something else to cart around with them, such as a helmet, shin pads, knee pads, gloves, elbow guards, a mouth guard, a fluoro vest, sunscreen, bandaids, and a cellphone with a GPS tracker, and it’s easy to see why any magic moments evaporate.
Not to mention the dreaded “helmet hair”. Apparently this is a reason why the Dutch don’t have mandatory cycle helmet laws.
People are capable of doing silly shit at times. Sometimes, like Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mount Everest, they get away with it. Sometimes they don’t. A story published today involves a teenager, presumably out with his mates, skateboarding down the exit ramp from a Wellington carparking building. Yee hah! The exit involved entering a city street. This particularly unfortunate story involves a collision with a passing car. I suspect that a helmet wouldn’t have helped on this occasion. Helmets aren’t that clever.
My cousins some years ago were playing catch with their Dad’s tools, as you do. It’s a great way of enhancing hand-to-eye coordination. One of them wandered inside with an 8-inch crescent embedded in his temple to see if his Mum could help. After she regained consciousness and uplifted herself from the kitchen floor, she took him to hospital. The offending spanner was removed with no harm done to it or its victim. If he had been wearing a helmet a lot of grief could have been saved.